@Sean Pitman: @Sean Pitman: Oh, how fragile those bonds of …

Comment on Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference by Brent Stanyer.

@Sean Pitman: @Sean Pitman: Oh, how fragile those bonds of unity as we each do what is right in our own eyes.

Brent Stanyer Also Commented

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
@Sean Pitman: Sean, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic, and thinking through this in a public forum. Your update, the original post, and the comments, have prompted me to clarify my own thinking on the organizational challenges ahead.

Your point about the Adventist organizational structure and how authority is dispersed among entities (GC, Union, and Conference) is key. These entities each have their own constituencies, and exercise final authority over matters in their jurisdiction. Decisions within that jurisdiction are made by them, not for them. Yes, the GC has its own jurisdiction, and makes its own decisions through its Executive Committee or GC Session, but it doesn’t have the jurisdiction to overrule the decisions of other entities acting within their jurisdiction. The tensions inherent in that system seem to cause much of the dispute over how some unions and conferences are exercising their independent jurisdiction over ordination. There are tensions between the policy jurisdiction of the GC versus the pastor and ordination decision making of the Unions and Conferences. Current policy is not as clear as opponent to WO argue that it is. Several other tensions are also at play – one’s view on whether women should be pastors (even though this is settled in GC policy), whether ordination should be male only, and preferences for local or centralized authority, etc. will make this matter a difficult challenge.

Often left out of the discussions, is that while all of the disputes and debates are occurring, and study documents and policy changes are considered, women are effectively working right now as pastors – blessing their congregations and communities with their service. Let’s enhance the ministry of all pastors – men and women – with our time, talent and money, instead of the nuclear options.

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference
@Larry Kirkpatrick: Yes, Pastor Kirkpatrick, time will tell. And, every administrator, pastor, delegate, member in NCC and the Pacific Union are every bit as much part of the church as you or I. Claiming separation is simply your rhetorical attempt to dismiss them based on your disagreement with them. It might mean something to you, but has no effect on who is part of the church or which conference and unions are part of the sisterhood of unions and conferences. All of us are working through these issues together as we determine how to handle our differences. I trust that God will bless us in that endeavor.

Northern California Conference Votes to Act Independent of the General Conference

Sean Pitman:
This doesn’t make sense to me regarding church hierarchy and government. How can a conference or union define for itself if it is in or out of conflict with policy that is set by the GC in session?That makes absolutely no sense to me.It is the GC that sets policy for all underlying organizational elements who, according to their own bylaws, must abide by policies determined by the GC in session.In this line, consider the following relevant comments:

Sean, sorry if I wasn’t clear. All that I meant about a conference or union making the initial decision about conflict was this: When NCC make its original decision to forward women’s names to the union for ordination, it would have given some thought to its authority and whether its decision was within policy. Likewise, when the union, in its session, made a decision to ordain women, it would have made some type of determination of whether it was in policy – especially since Elder Wilson was present to state the GC’s case.